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Image of the Tools menu, in Slackware

The Tools menu

What is a Tool? An outside program that is called from 4Pane, and the results displayed by 4Pane. There are three of these built-in, but you can add more yourself.

The first three menu-items are for the standard tools: Locate, Find and Grep. Selecting one of these invokes the appropriate dialog, and the results are displayed in the Terminal Emulator.




The Locate dialog, in Slackware

Locate is the quickest way of searching for a file or directory, as it looks up a database rather than each search scanning the filesystem. If it isn't already available on your system, install the 'findutils' package. Its search pattern can contain the simple wildcards *, ? and [Aa] (but see the -r option below).

The Locate dialog is quite simple; most often you'll just put the search string in the box and click OK. It keeps a history of the searches that you can access from the dropdown arrow or the Down/Up keys. There are also options that may occasionally be useful:




Since 4Pane version 0.6, Grep comes in two flavours. For everyday use there is Quick Grep, which is easy to use but provides only the commonest options; and Full Grep, which has many more (see below).

Image of the Quick Grep dialog, in zenwalk











In the Quick Grep dialog, all you absolutely have to fill in is the search pattern and the search path, though there are other (self-explanatory) things too e.g. 'ignore binary files'. There are convenient shortcuts for the path: $HOME, '/' and (the most useful) the currently-selected directory. These settings are remembered by the dialog, as are recently used patterns and paths.
At the top of the dialog is a button to take you to the Full Grep dialog instead, and a checkbox to tick if you want that to be the default.


The Find and Full Grep dialogs definitely aren't simple; in fact they are too complicated to describe in detail here. Instead I've made them as self-describing as possible. Both split the numerous available options into several pages, and most options have a detailed tooltip.

The Find dialog, as seen in Sabayon. Click a thumbnail to enlarge
Find Dialog: Path Find Dialog: Options Find Dialog: Operators Find Dialog: Name Find Dialog: Time Find Dialog: Size Find Dialog: Owner Find Dialog: Actions


For Find you will almost certainly want, as a minimum, to select from the Path and the Name pages; for Full Grep the File Options, Pattern and Location pages. As you will see, selections made on a page aren't added to the command until the Add to Command String button is clicked.
Most items that require you to provide a name e.g. the Find path, have a history. The final command also has a history, so you can alter and repeat one of the previous commands. You can also do this from the Terminal Emulator's history.

The Full Grep dialog, as seen in Xubuntu. Click a thumbnail to enlarge
Grep Dialog: General Grep Dialog: Directory Grep Dialog: File Grep Dialog: Output Grep Dialog: Pattern Grep Dialog: Location


The output of these commands are a list of files displayed in the Terminal Emulator, and you'll often want to open one or more of them. You can, by:
Next a single item, Launch Terminal (Ctrl-T). This does just what is says: it opens a new console window, which will use the current selection as its path. You can configure which console application is opened (konsole, gnome-terminal etc) in Options > Configure 4Pane > Terminals.

The rest of the menu deals with user-defined tools: programs or scripts that you have chosen yourself (from the Options > Configure 4Pane); more about these here.
Run a Program opens a submenu from which you can select one of these tools. Once you've run one of them, the last command, Repeat Previous Program, allows you easily to repeat it.